"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent van Gogh

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Zoo of Inspiration

September has been a busy month, not least of all because my kids have been out of school for three weeks. We've managed to have some fun ~ mostly of the non-fiber art variety. Last week we took a day trip to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, which is about an hour and a half west of us. The day dawned gloomy with a promise of rain, but we went anyway. The rain held of, except when we were eating lunch (inside), the crowds were extremely light, and the animals were all reveling in the cool moist air. It was a perfect day at the zoo!

I always manage to take tons of photos - of the plants and the animals - and always find inspiration. I thought I'd share some of my favorite photos with you.

The Zoo is huge, and divided into two "continents" - Africa and North America. The original plan was to have all 7 continents represented, but it has since been scaled back. Above is a banana palm and some baby bananas. I love palm trees. Can't get enough of 'em.
We had the incredible good luck to visit on the day a new baby baboon was born. He (or she!) was born in the morning before the zoo opened. Here are mama and baby, and the proud papa. It was quite amazing.
There was also a little one month old baby baboon. Her main goal was to escape mom's clutches and go exploring. Good thing for mom she has that tail to hang onto! Are you sensing the animal world is not too far off from our own???
Near the baboons were these gorgeous flowers, many of which had gone to seed. The seed pods were just as beautiful as the blooms.
This guy preferred the blooms ... and happened to land right where I had my camera focused!
Purples do not usually show up well with my camera, so I was very pleased with this photo.
They have built a platform that extends into the giraffe enclosure. You can walk right up to the fence, hold a branch with leaves and the giraffes will come up and strip the leaves and eat them ... eating right out of your hand! The platform just opened earlier this month and it is a terrific addition to the zoo. I can imagine it would be awful on a hot, crowded day!
And how can this NOT be inspiring! Just absolutely gorgeous. This is the same giraffe as above. She is about a year and a half old and one of the smaller ones at the zoo.
I was pleased to get such a crisp close up of this lantana bush. I was reminded how much I love this plant ... so much so that I bought one to plant in our yard. You gotta love a plant that blooms in yellow, orange AND pink, and all at the same time!
This bloom was about 1/2" wide. It looked like a tiny hibiscus flower about to unfurl.

We loved watching the otters play. This one found an acorn and was having a ball with it. He would drop it and then chase after it while it sank.

Bonus animal! This guy was hanging out near the Elk enclosure. We have lots of lizards in NC, but I haven't seen one like this before.
My son wanted me to take a photo of this sign. He found it quite amusing!
The prickly pears were fully fruited. How nice it would have been to pick a few to enjoy with our lunch!
And even at the end of the day, the animals were enjoying themselves. I think they enjoy posing for photos! This was just before quitting time (5:00) so this guy was about ready to punch the clock and call it a day.

I hope you enjoyed my little diversion. Back to the studio!!!


Elizabeth said...

Waht fabulous photos michelle!! Myf avs are the tiny baby banana bunch and the baby and mom Orangatan!! You were so lucky!!!! Why are your kids out for three weeks????????? Please tell me not the flu??????
hang in there and Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Great Photos, you have a good eye. It's hard to dublicate all of the beauty nature has to offer, but humans are the luckey ones. We can appreciate and enjoy all of the colors (De Colores).


Threadhead said...

I love the zoo! And your green hous eis beautiful! I love it!